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Kapaun makes City League wrestling a three-way tie

Published Feb. 15 at 10:10 p.m. | Last updated Feb. 15 at 11:47 p.m.

In academic terms, the City League wrestling tournament is like a final exam, a competition equally weighted with the results of the teams’ regular-season duals.

It’s a 50-50 proposition to decide an overall champion that was once again frustrating for Northwest, but rewarding for its closest pursuers.

After Bishop Carroll won the 2013 tournament to share the league crown with the dual champion Grizzlies,this season the title was spread even thinner. Kapaun Mount Carmel captured the tournament title with 186 points Saturday at Heights. With runner-up Carroll also finishing ahead of Northwest, the three teams split first place in the final standings.

“It’s crazy,” said Kapaun senior Parker Howell, the Crusaders’ lone individual champion with a 3-1 victory over Carroll’s Sam Roy at 120 pounds. “We showed up and did what we had to do today, putting seven in the finals. We only had one guy not place and he was covering for a guy who got hurt earlier in the week.”

Kapaun won just one of its seven championship matches, but with 13 of its 14 placing in the top four, the Crusaders defeated Carroll by 22 1/2 points to win the tournament. Kapaun was third in the dual standings at 6-2, but flipped places with Northwest on Saturday, as the Grizzlies were third with 120 1/2 points.

“We’re battled tested now, so next week (at regionals) we’re not going to run into anyone that’s going to surprise us,” Kapaun coach Tim Dryden said. “There’s good kids here on all of the teams.”

Seven of the nine teams produced at least one individual champion. Carroll led the way with four – Bryant Suellentrop (126 pounds), J.P. Sponsel (138), Tommy Marquez (182) and Nick Nolting (220).

“We wrestled good,” Carroll coach Mark Stovall said. “Kapaun wrestled great. My hat’s off to them.”

Northwest, which finished 8-0 in the round-robin dual format during the season, got titles from Micquille Robinson at 170 pounds and Jordan Bell at 285. But the Grizzlies experienced their share of frustration, specifically talented 160-pound wrestler Saul Ortiz, whose bid to repeat as champion was derailed by a second-period injury default against West’s Kalin Collins.

“It got even worse,” Northwest coach Eric Prichard said when comparing Saturday’s tournament to last year’s. “To be honest, I could see it coming. We had four lineup changes this week. But hats off to Kapaun – they wrestled their butts off – and to Carroll.”

Host Heights had two individual winners, including unbeaten junior Sean Deshazer at 132. Deshazer edged Kapaun’s Patrick Burrus 3-2 in the final, winning a bracket that included four state-ranked competitors.

Deshazer moved up in weight class for the tournament, but will return to 126 for regionals.

“We said let’s go ahead and challenge him,” Heights coach Mike Church said. “I just needed him to get pushed.”

Team scores – 1. Kapaun 186; 2. Carroll 163 1/2, 3. Northwest 120 1/2, 4. West 97 1/2, 5. East 82 1/2, 6. Heights 73, 7. North 61 1/2, T8. South and Southeast 16.

Individual results

106 – 1. Elias, West, pinned Egan, Kapaun, 5:44; 3. Wilson, South, pinned Brown, Northwest, :59. 113 – 1. Fonseca, West, def. O’Donnell, Kapaun, 12-10; 3. Murphy, Carroll, def. Gandeza, Northwest 10-2. 120 – 1. Howell, Kapaun, def. Roy, Carroll, 3-1; 3. Stuber, Heights, def. Stevens, West, 6-4 (OT). 126 – 1. Suellentrop, Carroll, def. Burton, East, 8-3; 3. J. Le, Kapaun, def. Cisneros, North, 18-2. 132 – 1. Deshazer, Heights, def. Burrus, Kapaun, 3-2; 3. Brock, Northwest, def. Phillips, West, 2-1. 138 – 1. J. Sponsel, Carroll, def. McCray, Heights, 4-2 (OT); 3. Brazell, Northwest, def. Lopez, North, 8-7. 145 – 1. Caldwell, East, def. L. Sponsel, Carroll, 9-2; 3. Wilson, Kapaun, def. Haskins, Heights, 13-8 (OT). 152 – 1. Parker, Heights, def. Williams, Kapaun, 4-0; 3. Armstrong, Southeast, def. Pacha, Carroll, 5-1. 160 – 1. Collins, West, def. Ortiz, Northwest, by inj. default, 3:29; 3. Burrows, East, def. B. Le, Kapaun, 5-3. 170 – 1. Robinson, Northwest, def. Oliver, West, 3-2 (OT); 3. Nece, Kapaun, def. Moore, Carroll, 1-0. 182 – 1. Marquez, Carroll, def. Hand, Kapaun, 10-5; 3. Turner, Northwest, pinned Cesena, North, :37. 195 – 1. Franklin, North, pinned Harp, Kapaun, 3:59; 3. Dugan, Carroll, def. Jackson, Northwest, 1-0. 220 – 1. Nolting, Carroll, pinned Brown, East, 2:45; 3. Lafleur, Kapaun, pinned Flores, North, 2:30. 285 – 1. Bell, Northwest, def. Brown, East, 2-1; 3. Powers, Kapaun, def. Jenkins, Carroll, 8-2.

Final City League standings – T1. Kapaun, Carroll and Northwest 16, 4. West 11, 5. Heights 10, T6. North and East 7, 8. South 4 1/2, 9. Southeast 2 1/2.